GM Tim Connelly has focused on finding talent that others have overlooked and that strategy has led the Nuggets to draft many international players, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post writes. “We’ve put a lot of emphasis in international scouting. … We want to be very well informed with any player in the world,” said Connelly. “Certainly the more well informed we are, hopefully we make better decisions. It just so happens that when we’ve selected guys, signed guys, traded for guys, we’ve had a pretty big international influence.”
The Nuggets employ one of the league’s top international scouting staffs, which is something that didn’t happen by accident. Connelly spent time early in his career as an international scout and the team’s assistant GM, Arturas Karnisovas, is a former FIBA Europe player of the year. Denver has one of the most international-heavy rosters in the league, which could make communicating with the team problematic, but first year coach Mike Malone doesn’t see it as a deterrent. “I don’t care where you’re from,” Malone said. “If you can play, I’m a fan of yours.”
Here’s more from the Northwest Division:
- The Jazz have an open roster spot as a result of waiving Elijah Millsap, and David Smith of The Deseret News believes the D-League has a few guards that could help the team. Smith names Sean Kilpatrick, Erick Green and Jimmer Fredette among the possible candidates. However, Utah seems to have a lack of interest in Fredette, as Jody Genessy of The Deseret News reported earlier this week.
- The Thunder should look to the trade market to find a veteran backup point guard, Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders opines. D.J. Augustin has fallen out of the rotation and while Cameron Payne has shown promise, rookie contributors on title contenders are rare, and the team should look to shore up the position, Greene adds.